NEW: Detectives are at a home with a search warrant in a "critical juncture" in the case, sheriff says
After Michael and Tina Careccia didn't show up for work, family reported them missing
"We have evidence that suggests foul play," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu says
Family members say Tina Careccia was on the way to work with her husband, Michael, early one Monday morning this month. But they never made it.
Their dark gray 2008 Honda Accord was found abandoned.
“This is not just a search, but it is also criminal investigation into the couple’s disappearance,” Babeu said earlier this week.
Babeu didn’t provide additional details on why detectives suspect criminal activity.
“We have no further details at this time, we are looking to provide the family and our community with answers,” he said, “yet we are restricted due to the nature of this investigation.”
On Wednesday, he said detectives were at a home in Maricopa, Arizona, with a search warrant in a “critical juncture” in the case.
Mike Careccia’s son first reported the pair missing in a 911 call on June 22, telling a dispatcher his father, 44, and stepmother, 42, hadn’t been seen all day after leaving home to head to work.
“I’m worried about him and … their phones are off,” he says in a recording released by authorities. “They’ve been gone for 12 hours now.”
Since then, volunteers have been searching the desert, investigators have gone door-to-door with fliers and there are rewards for information that will help solve the case.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that it had “searched with air, ground and K9 resources soon after the report was filed, but found no signs that the couple is lost in the desert.”
“We are happy that it’s shifted from a missing person’s case to a criminal investigation. Bottom line is let’s get some answers and find out what happened to get them home,” said Geoff Dugan, the brother-in-law of Michael Careccia
On a Facebook page dedicated to a search for the missing couple, posts describe their disappearance as “unexplainable.”
“It’s certainly unusual for a couple to just go missing. People don’t just disappear, there’s usually more to it,” Pinal County Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Clark told CNN. “But we are not going to stop the investigation until we find out what happened to them.”
The Sheriff’s Office said it was serving a search warrant on a property near the couple’s home. A person of interest has been detained in connection to the disappearance, authorities said.